An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org
Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
[Also read SeaWorld’s Three Whoppers.]
Keiko in Icelandic sea pen…
Wayne, what are you doing?
Wayne Pacelle is the President of the Humane Society of the United States.
I have known Wayne since the Eighties when he and I were both working with the Fund for Animals. At the Higgins Pigeon shoot in Pennsylvania I filmed Wayne running in front of hunters armed with shotguns who were blasting defenseless pigeons being released from cages. It was a brave thing to do and Wayne was a dedicated and passionate activist for the Fund for Animals, mentored by Cleveland Amory himself.
I’ve always liked and respected Wayne, even when he decided that Sea Shepherd and I were too controversial to be seen together in public, but that’s okay, we get that from lots of folks. We’re used to being the “ladies of the night” of the movement. Many people agree with what we do but don’t wish to be seen in the light of day with us. I get that. We do things people think are too controversial and we say things people don’t want to hear.
I have heard many criticisms of HSUS over the years about many things, none of which I wish to relate here. Big groups do many things that piss off their supporters. Nothing surprising.
But I have to say I was extremely surprised and even felt personally betrayed by seeing Wayne Pacelle representing HSUS sitting alongside Joel Manby, the CEO of Sea World as Manby announced his “capitulation” to the anti-captivity movement, his pledge to end breeding and to end Orca theatrics. (In 2019).
Wayne was in full support of this and both those things were worth applauding but then I saw him snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Sea World was going down thanks to Blackfish and years of campaigning by many groups. Their stock was tanking and the possibility of emptying their slave tanks was within our grasp.
Manby needed salvation and HSUS gave him that P.R. life ring with the lie that Sea World is now a humane corporation despite the fact that HSUS is on the record as saying that captivity of Orcas and other dolphin species can never be humane.
It was a bold faced lie but it was not the biggest lie. Manby with a nod of approval from Pacelle looked into the camera and arrogantly lied when he said there has never been a successful release of an Orca to the wild. And Wayne Pacelle added that sea pens were not an alternative.
Wayne, between 1997 and 2003, you were boasting about how much of a success the freeing of Keiko was. People sent you money to free Keiko and you told them that the campaign was a success.
In the book Death at Sea World by David Kirby, Pacelle said “we are proposing.. a transfer of the whale (Tilikum) to a sea pen that will allow him to live in a more suitable environment.”
Now you say that it was not a success because Keiko died five years after being freed. That was five years of freedom Wayne. Sea World said he died of pneumonia and implied that he would still be alive if he had not been freed. Now you’re saying that sea pens are not an alternative to the tanks.
Bullshit! Nine Orcas have died from pneumonia in Sea World tanks. All their deceased Orcas have died young and now they are lying and saying that Tilikum at 37 years of age is dying from “old age” when Orcas live twice that long in the wild.
To say that Keiko’s release was a failure because Keiko died five years later is like saying that a human released from prison and dies of pneumonia five years later died because he was released from prison despite the fact that inmates in prison also die of pneumonia.
The freeing of Keiko was an astounding success story and demonstrated that Orcas can be rehabilitated into the wild. The documentation of this success is irrefutable.
Keiko was taught to fish and hunt and he did just that for five years. Sea World has claimed that Keiko was aggressively persecuted by wild Orcas. There is not a shred of evidence to back up that fabrication.
Keiko travelled between Iceland and Norway. Keiko communicated with other Orcas in the North Atlantic.
Keiko had what no other captive Orca has ever had and that was freedom. The freedom to be an Orca and the freedom to return to where he came from and where he belonged. The last five years of Keiko’s life were most likely the happiest five years since he was ruthlessly torn from the side of his mother and from his pod off Iceland in 1979.
The ad defends Sea World by saying that, “Sea World has cared for and rehabilitated thousands of wild animals in distress.” Yet only a few years ago Dr. Naomi Rose speaking for HSUS stated in Death at Sea World that “Sea World always used its rescue operations as PR opportunities, rather than doing the right thing by animals. The work that they actually do isn’t as great as they claim. It looks good, but in the end, they can’t offer evidence of success because they don’t monitor most of the animals they release.”
How can Wayne Pacelle who once proudly proclaimed the Keiko story to be a success now claim it to be a failure? What possible motivation does Wayne have?
I’m not saying that Sea World has bought redemption from HSUS, I have no evidence of that, but something must have motivated Wayne Pacelle to embrace Sea World by betraying the Orcas and the humane cause the way he did.
Wayne has baptized a born again Sea World with the anointment of the word “humane.” He has not explained how the tanks that were once vilified as inhumane are now miraculously considered humane.
Who reached out to who? Did Manby make Wayne an offer he could not refuse or did Wayne see an opportunity to look like they had found the answer to the Orca dilemma, an opportunity to take full advantage of the success of Blackfish the movie.
When I saw the ad that HSUS placed in the New York Times today I was disgusted.
“The Humane Society of the United States commends Sea World…”
“We look forward to joining together (with Sea World) in partnership…”
The ad describes Sea World as “inspiring” through “personal, interactive and informative experiences” (like swim with dolphin programs).
“HSUS commends Sea World for scientific research programs.”
What next, will HSUS be commending the Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research for their “research” programs also?
I also had to laugh when I saw this statement in the ad: “HSUS and SeaWorld will actively partner on efforts against the commercial killing of whales, seals and other marine mammals as well as ending shark finning.”
Really? What do they intend to do that? I can tell you right now that Sea World will not be saying or doing anything to offend the whalers in Japan, Iceland and Norway or the sealers in Canada. What they may do is provide funds for HSUS to put out millions of direct mail fund-raising letters asking for money to oppose whaling, sealing and shark finning.
I have been on the front lines of anti-whaling, anti-sealing and anti-shark killing efforts for four decades and I have never seen HSUS actively do anything except to take pictures of sealers.
And I love this last paragraph in the ad: “All seafood served in the parks will be sustainable.”
There is no such thing as sustainable seafood. Our Oceans are being dangerously over-fished with 40% of the fish (it’s fish, Wayne not seafood) being fed to chickens, pigs and domestic salmon. Here we have HSUS saying it’s okay to eat pork if it was not raised in a crate, okay to eat chickens if they are not in a cage but in mass produced factories where millions of male chicks are ground up alive every day. There is no humane meat Wayne, there is only the illusion of humane meat spread by so-called “humane” societies like HSUS.
Has the word “humane” now become a marketing slogan like “sustainable?”
The Ad speaks for itself. HSUS has sold out the dolphins and the other animals being held in the slave tanks at Sea World. They are right now suffering the same miserable conditions that HSUS has been campaigning against for years, miserable, distressing conditions that will continue, except now it is no longer considered abuse because HSUS has magically made the tanks and the cages humane now that Wayne Pacelle and Joel Manby are such good buddies.
I wonder who paid for this ad and why HSUS felt the need to advertise their betrayal to the world.